Multi-gigabit millimeter wave wireless communications for 5G: from fixed access to cellular networks

With the formidable growth of various booming wireless communication services that require ever increasing data throughputs, the conventional microwave band below 10 GHz, which is currently used by almost all mobile communication systems, is going to reach its saturation point within just a few years. Therefore, the attention of radio system designers has been pushed toward ever higher segments of the frequency spectrum in a quest for increased capacity. In this article we investigate the feasibility, advantages, and challenges of future wireless communications over the E-band frequencies.

We start with a brief review of the history of the E-band spectrum and its light licensing policy as well as benefits/challenges. Then we introduce the propagation characteristics of E-band signals, based on which some potential fixed and mobile applications at the E-band are investigated. In particular, we analyze the achievability of a nontrivial multiplexing gain in fixed point-to-point E-band links, and propose an E-band mobile broadband (EMB) system as a candidate for the next generation mobile communication networks. The channelization and frame structure of the EMB system are discussed in detail.